Electron spin resonance dating of the Pleistocene coral reef tracts of Barbados
The reef tracts of Barbados have been investigated by electron spin resonance dating; all parameters necessary for ESR dating (including effective α-efficiency and thermal stability) were determined without cross checking with another independent dating method. In addition, some U-series analyses were carried out in order to test the reliability of ESR. In most cases, the results show a satisfactory agreement between ESR and both these and previously published U-series dates (M. L. Bender, R. G. Fairbanks, F. W. Taylor, R. K. Matthews, J. G. Goddard, and W. S. Broecker (1979). Geological Society of America. Bulletin90, 577–594). For the oldest samples, ESR dates tend to exceed He/U dates, suggesting that there might have been He loss from aragonite. Raised reef tracts are assigned to high sea stands from successive interglacial stages 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, and 15. ESR and U-series (230Th/234U) dates for corals and molluses in North Barbados do not support the suggestion of N. P. James ((1971). Unpublished Thesis, McGill University, Montreal) that this region has subsided during part of the past 125,000 yr. Whereas the experimentally determined mean life (τ) of trapped electrons is only 500,000 yr for the ambient temperature in Barbados, there is no evidence from the comparison between ESR and other dates for thermal fading. This emphasizes the difficulty of experimental measurement of τ.
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